98 Percent Pass Indiana’s Job Training Drug Tests

The state has spent thousands of dollars to prevent 23 applicants that tested positive for drug use from joining the program.

By Jorge Rivas Jan 04, 2012

About 98 percent of applicants for an Indiana job training program passed a drug test, which has cost the state about $45,000 so far. Despite the price tag, and the fact that only 13 people tested positive for drugs, state officials are describing the mandatory testing as a success.

The program was launched in part because some business owners complained that once hired, workers that had completed the state job training programs couldn’t pass the employer’s drug tests. "Business owners had questioned why drug users who would not be able to pass workplace drug screening were nonetheless allowed to participate in the federally funded job training program," the state Workforce Development Commissioner Mark Everson told the Associated Press.

Of the 1,240 applicants tested in the five months after the program was introduced last year, 1,217 passed the test, the Department of Workforce Development told the AP. Thirteen people, or 1 percent, failed, three refused to take the test, and seven more samples were so diluted that they needed to be retested, the department said.

Applicants were tested for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, PCP, amphetamine and methamphetamine.

"When people understand you’re going to drug test them, they walk away," Everson told the AP. "It discourages people from going through the process."

$45,000 to prevent 23 people from finishing a job training program doesn’t sound like a success to me. Especially when your job is to encourage people to participate in your state’s job program.

Last year, the state of Florida saw similar drug-tests-for-welfare-applicants results: 96 percent passed.